I was watching the excellent Monday Night Football game just now, and enjoying a cold brew, when I glanced through some emails and came across a comment from one of our readers on an older article. The article was about AT&T’s seemingly ‘Spanish Inquisition’-like audit of their subscriber base and their unholy and  unsanctioned tethering tendencies with iPhones and other devices. Many of us have received texts, emails and calls about this; claiming we are the devil – and must be punished. Reader Athanasios has brought forward an even more interesting side to this story. Maybe you’ve heard that AT&T seems to think that they can claim that TV output via HDMI is tethering. Or that they will force you into a ridiculously expensive plan if you want a LapDock for your Atrix. But have you heard this one?

Author: Athanasios
So I got done talking to customer service today. They told me, “tethering data to anything electronic” is considered “tethering”. I explained that I use a small pair of Sony speakers, they fit in the palm of my hand, and listen to Pandora with them . They told me that was Tethering and there “system” showed I was tethering….  
She said, “speakers are considered as electronic devices and fall under tethering. 

I was at 2gigs for October and they sent the letter…. I explained I do all my work on my phone…  A lot of e-mails, I use my GPS a lot and my son watches a lot of Netflix… She asked if I connect the phone to the TV.. I told her no, and she said that would be tethering if I did…..

I am truly amazed at this. Stunned is the word…. Headphones, she said, were not tethering by the way…??? 


So, what are the possible repercussions of this statement (which must be false, or else the entirety of AT&T’s subscriber base would surely walk away… right? RIGHT?) if it were accurate? All those iPod docks, portable speakers, BT kits in cars? Against the user agreement and would require you to spend a ridiculous amount of money to pick up a tethering plan just because you want to listen to music. And of course, you’re damned if you want to watch a movie on your TV via HDMI. That’s not kosher and you will be charged for the…… I don’t even know what. Or why. Oh.. and they know. THEY KNOW.

AT&T: If you pursue this, I am leaving you. I use my iPhone for music primarily. I ‘tether’ to my car daily. I ‘tether’ to my Apple TV daily. I ‘tether’ to my TV to watch movies when I’m on the road. I ‘tether’ to some battery powered speakers when I want to listen to music outside.

And since Headphones aren’t speakers (what?) and aren’t ‘tethering’… I’m assuming that we’ll be looking at this issue again in the near future when one of AT&T’s ridiculously horrible customer ‘service’ reps makes another insane statement.


This just in: Holding your phone in your left hand requires a tethering plan and nulls your Unlimited Data account.

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Current Device: iPhone 5 64GB Past line up includes: iPhone 4S iPhone 4 32GB HTC AT&T Tilt 2 HTC AT&T Fuze HTC AT&T Tilt HTC AT&T 8525 Samsung Blackjack Samsung Blackjack II RIM BB Curve Moto RAZR (three of them actually) Nextel i95c Nextel i90 a few other various Nextel models Samsung color flip phone on sprint... you know the one I mean. Had a blue case, did internet? Can't remember the name.. SC400? Many other Samsung and etc Sprint flips Moto StarTac Bell Atlantic Mobile 'candy bars' And more.. I need more phones.


  1. Well what if you plug in your headphones into your speakers, using the speakers not as speakers anymore, per se, but as a headphone preamp? Would that at least be okay on wifi?

    Lol, f att.

  2. You should have pulled her by asking what if I use speaker phone in between a call or use BT Headset. I think she would have just said it would be considered as “tethering”. :D

  3. That’s ridiculous. Speakers are tethering. I hope this story gets picked up by some larger outlets and AT&T PR can apologize formally (probably wishful thinking, but still).

  4. Basically a dumb representative, this isn’t at all truth.  I was once told that I could still be billed even if I pulled my SIM out and used wifi.

  5. I was told on one of my phone calls that HDMI would be tethering, that seems to be a very common claim from these guys. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are being directed to call speaker docks tethering too.

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